FAQs

FAQs

Pricing

How much do solar panels cost?

When it comes to the all-in price of installing solar panels, several factors can have an impact. Some of the most common factors that affect the pricing of solar panel installation are the type of solar panels you're using, the number of solar panels you're installing, your roof type, and interconnection costs. You can learn more about solar panel costs in this resource.

How long does it take to break even on solar panels?

The time it takes to break even on your solar panel investment will depend on a number of things including the total cost for your system, whether you're financing or you buy outright, and several other factors. However, the typical time range to break even is about 8 to 11 years for most residential solar panel systems.

How much does it cost to lease solar panels?

The cost to lease a solar panel system depends on many factors including your location, your credit, and the size of system you will need, but the average ranges from about $75 - $250 per month. The best way to find out is to speak to a solar panel installer in your area. Click here to start an online solar panel quote now.

Solar Panels

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels, or solar photovoltaic panels, transform sunlight into usable energy by converting the light into an electric field that then flows into a conductive wire.  The conductive wire flows into the inverter which then transforms the electricity to an alternating current which can then be used to power a property. You can read our full article about how solar panels work here.

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels have a typical lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Once solar panels reach this point they begin to decline in efficiency. However, with recent advances in solar panel technology, it could make more sense to replace your solar panels in 10 years to maximize the improved efficiency.

How are solar panels made?

Solar panels are comprised of an array of solar cells (photovoltaic cells). These cells, made of silicon semiconductors, absorb sunlight to create electricity and then transfer the energy into the inverter. The cells are then networked together inside of a case along with some other components to create the panel. You can read more about how a solar panel is made in this article.

How big are solar panels?

Residential solar panels are typically 65 inches by 39 inches or 3.25 feet by 5.4 feet, although there are some variations among manufacturers. Each panel will also weigh about 40 pounds on average.

How much do solar panels weigh?

The average solar panel weighs about 40 pounds. This will add about 2.8 pounds per square foot to pitched roofs, and about 5 pounds per square foot for flat roofs.

How many solar panels can I fit on my roof?

On average, you can fit about 25 to 28 solar panels for every 500 square feet of roof space. However, in some cases, homeowners will not be able to utilize the entire roof space due to shading or roof grade.

Why are flexible solar panels less efficient?

Flexible solar panels are limited in the materials they can be made from. Rigid solar panels can be made with more efficient components, and are generally thicker, which means more material to interact with solar rays and produce electricity.

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hurricanes?

When properly installed, especially in hurricane-prone areas like Florida, the strict installation regulations ensure that solar panel systems are as safe as the rest of your home and roof. In many circumstances, the added reinforcement actually helps the home and roof fare better in a hurricane than a home without solar panels. Of course, as in any natural disaster, anything can happen and there is no way to guarantee your solar panels won't sustain damage or be ripped up along with the roof.

Do Solar Panels Create Power On Cloudy Days?

Solar Panels still produce some electricity during cloudy days from indirect and UV light, but their production is reduced to around 15-30% of what they would create in direct sunlight.

How Is Solar Energy Produced?

When the photons in sunlight hit the atoms in your solar panel, electrons can be kicked loose. Solar panels are designed to collect these disassociated electrons and store them in a battery to power your home and electronics.

Energy Efficiency

How much energy does a solar panel produce?

Solar panels are typically going to be able to produce between 245 watts and 400 watts per hour. This means that if you live in a place that gets 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, a 300-watt solar panel will produce 1.8 kilowatt-hours and a 400-watt solar panel will produce 2.4 kilowatt-hours. Multiplied by 365, this adds up to about 650 kWh to 875 kWh per year.

How many solar panels do you need to power a house?

Typically, an average-sized house will need 20 to 25 solar panels. However, depending on the size of the house, the sun exposure, where you live, and how much energy you consume, you could need more.

How efficient are solar panels?

Modern solar panels are usually about 15% to 18% efficient. This means that 15% to 18% of the sunlight they absorb gets turned into energy. The remaining sunlight is lost as heat, warming the solar panel casing. That being said there are a number of factors that can impact the overall efficiency such as the solar panel age, materials they're made with, and average sun exposure.

How much electricity do solar panels produce?

A typical residential solar panel is rated to produce between 250 and 400 watts of power per hour. Your average solar panel systems have between 1 kW and 4 kW capacity. Solar panels' output varies depending on a number of factors, such as their capacity, size, location, and shade conditions. For example, a 4 kW solar panel system on an average-sized house can produce around 2,500 to 2,850 kWh of electricity in a year.

Solar Planning

How many solar panels do I need?

In order to figure out how many solar panels you need, you'll need to determine how much energy your household uses, how many panels you can fit on your roof, the peak sunlight in your area, how efficient the panels you're considering are, and whether net metering is available in your area. The easiest way to find out is to get a solar panel estimate from a local installer.

Maintenance

How do you clean solar panels?

In most cases, cleaning your solar panels isn't really necessary. They get a great rinse off every time it rains. However, if you live in a dry state you may need to clean them from time to time. It's generally advised that you hire a professional to do this so that you don't do any unintended damage to your solar panels. However, if you plan to do it yourself, it's not all that difficult. All you really need is a hose, a good brush, and some patience. Make sure to take your time and gently, but thoroughly scrub the panels until all the dirt and debris is removed.

Can Solar Panels Withstand Hail Storms?

Yes! Properly installed solar panels are much more resilient than people imagine. Just because they're thin and reflective like glass doesn't mean they are fragile. In fact, many solar panel owners report extensive damage to the rest of their home, cars, and property, while their solar panel system stays undamaged. The angle and direction the panels are installed facing make the biggest difference regarding their vulnerability during a hail storm, and like the rest of your property they can be insured against hail damage.

Can Snow and Ice Damage Solar Panels?

Snow and Ice are rarely an issue for a properly installed and maintained solar panel system. Solar panels generate a good amount of heat through their operation and will usually melt any snowfall or ice accumulation. Solar panels are also almost always installed at an angle so snow and ice will generally slide right off. If your panels become entirely blocked by snow or ice, however, they will not generate power, the same as with any other debris that might cover your panels.

How much does it cost to clean solar panels?

The prices range greatly depending on the size of the solar panel system that needs cleaning, the panel's location, and the angle of your roof. The harder it is to get up to and reach your panels the more you can expect to pay. In general, costs can range from $20 - $30 per panel, but will depend on the specific company you contract.

How Often Should Solar Panels Be Cleaned?

The simple answer is any time they become obstructed by too much debris or grime to work efficiently. How long that takes will depend on your location. If you live near a populated downtown, your panels will get covered in soot faster, but if you live in a rainy place, your panels may stay cleaner longer. As a general rule, it is best to clean and inspect your solar panels every 6 months, but you may find it makes sense to clean them more often and get full efficiency from your clean solar panels.

What is the best way to clean solar panels?

In most cases, your solar panels will get a good cleaning every time it rains. However, if you're in an area that doesn't get rain very often, you can use a garden hose, a large sponge, and mild dish soap to clean your solar panels. Never use harsh chemicals, pressure washers, or any abrasives that might scratch the surface of your panels. Many solar panel installation companies will also offer inexpensive panel cleaning and maintenance.